3 biggest free agent wins in Orlando Magic history
2007: Rashard Lewis
In 2007, the Orlando Magic completed a sign and trade with the Seattle SuperSonics for Rashard Lewis. Before coming to the Magic, he had spent nine seasons in Seattle averaging 16.3 points per game on a field goal percentage of 46.1 percent. He was also an All-Star for the Sonics during the 2005 season.
The Magic had been building toward competitiveness when Lewis arrived. They already had a powerful presence down low in a young Dwight Howard. The team itself began to hit its stride as they made the playoffs during the 2007 season for the first time since 2003. However, they were swept by the Detroit Pistons in the first round.
Orlando needed something to help get the team deeper into the postseason. Lewis’ mid-range game was eye candy for a Magic team that could use shooting beyond the paint. And they got that out of him.
Lewis did not skip a beat when it came to the shooting success that he carried from Seattle. His field goal percentage stayed consistent and he even improved his three-point shooting in Orlando.
The three-point shooting he was doing was a common theme for the Magic. The team was innovative in depending upon small ball, and three-point shooting. That was discovered somewhat by accident when the Magic slotted Rashard Lewis next to Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard after Tony Battie tore his rotator cuff in a pre-training camp pickup game.
That move revolutionized the NBA.
Lewis was a unicorn for the team as a 6-foot-10-inch stretch big who developed a shot from outside thanks to the head coach Stan Van Gundy. He fit into nearly every offensive play within the Orlando offense.
His efforts eventually helped the Magic get to their second NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009. The Magic made the playoffs every year he was there. All because of their innovative style of play that was catalyzed by Lewis’ play.
Lewis’ addition to the team was huge for Orlando to push further into the postseason and become more competitive within more aspects of the offensive side of basketball.